Beyond the Time Barrier ★★★

Flight to the future
To a place without one.
Exiles to the past
A silent woman hopes.
Belief and fear.

Bananas science fiction, but another case of the outcast identification of Ulmer, this one set in 2024 after nuclear testing destroys the ozone and causes a zombie apocalypse (like Dwan’s Mosr Dangerous Man Alive, the atomic paranoia feels a little pandering to topicality than making anything resembling a coherent statement). What is pretty fantastic here are the amazing sets (Arianne Ulmer, who plays the Russian cosmonaut, explained at the screening that her father was obsessed with triangles), all shot on a Texas Air Force base. The bizarre mise-en-scene hides any budgetary shortcomings (the shots where the zombies are imprisoned are choppy in a weird way to hide the fact they’re two different sets), but also makes this almost a serious picture (it’s never particularly campy). And the central performance of Darlene Tompkins and her essentially silent film acting is quite a joy to watch. Everywhere are exiles: the zombies, the men forced underground, and now the pilot himself trying to make it back to his time. All fodder for what amounts to a fun and interesting B-picture, especially the film’s twist final shot.

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